When someone uses your name or likeness without your permission

| Sep 18, 2020 | Entertainment Law |

California has laws in place that protect you from having individuals or companies use your name or likeness for commercial or exploitative purposes without your consent. As a resident, you maintain statutory as well as common law rights in this regard. If anyone infringes upon these rights, you may have legal recourse.

According to the Digital Media Law Project, everyone in California has an entitlement to a right of publicity, although you may have more to protect if you are in the public eye.

The right of publicity

The right of publicity means that you, and only you, maintain control over the commercial value of your name, image, voice and signature. If someone uses one of your identifiers to attempt to make a profit, this may constitute a statutory violation.

A common law right violation differs from a statutory one in that you may, in some circumstances, be able to hold an offender accountable for using your likeness or other identifiers for non-commercial purposes. However, common law cases that do not involve commercial allegations are sometimes difficult to pursue because of issues surrounding First Amendment rights.

Recourse for violations

You have the option of pursuing claims for statutory as well as common law violations. You may attempt to hold the offender responsible for any financial losses you suffered due to the violation. You may also be able to secure any profits he or she made while using your likeness without your permission.

In some cases, such as those where someone uses your likeness or identifiers in a manner that is oppressive, fraudulent or malicious, you may also be able to seek punitive damages.

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